Run away to Africa – Maturara to Cia

Next morning rode up and down the main street, which was a sand road to find road crossing over the Zambezi river. Only to find the longest bridge which is 3.7 km is only a railway line bridge which has a walkway on the one side. Then to find the entrance had to ride around a little. Again fell off bicycle because cleat could not click out fast enough. By this time the cleats were very tight from all the sand and dust stuck in them. By the time I finished this trip the cleats were well worn in and started to click in and out easier.

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I walked down the railway line to the bridge where there was a flight of stairs to climb. The walkway was very busy. People with bowls of mangoes on their heads. Motor bikes and bicycles all went up and down the stairs. Then there were the holes in the walkway floor. This is where the concrete slabs have broken. Then there was just a piece of steel off cut thrown over the gap. To prevent the bicycles or motor bikes falling in the gap. Even people would have to watch their step. I tried to ride across however there were some places I did not trust myself. I pushed my bicycle across some sections where there was not much walkway to pass over. People were friendly and willing to give way to anybody who was in more of a hurry than they were. No matter in which direction they were traveling.

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

At Sena on the other side of the Zambesi River I dismounted the walkway in the middle of a busy town market. There were a few surprised comments passed at this white man that appeared with his bicycle. I just followed the flow of people through the market to the main road. The road from the market was washed away in the middle with a big donga (gulley) so that it was almost impossible to use a car down it. That did not stop the shops from functioning along the road. Road to Cia was wide, sandy and very flat so had to peddle all the way. There was no chance for freewheeling, to take a rest.

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Found people riding bicycles up to 10 Km out of Sena to get to their lands, to work them with hoes. There was a man lifting a woman to a land with a bicycle. Another man with a stick with four chickens tied by their legs upside down, strung across his handle bars. There were others with fresh produce and goats on their bicycle carriers. They were on their way to Sena for exchange or sale. Actually if there was an irrigation scheme this would make a lovely sugarcane area.

Halfway to Cia tried to buy cold water at a road side tavern. No luck, settled for cold Coca Cola. Sat down at a table and waiter helped me. When local children came to look at my bicycle they showed them away. Interesting at this place there was an agricultural high Tec farming project on the go. There even seemed to be some kind of farmers association or co-operative. Looked like it was motivated by some outsiders. There were some tractors and implements around this village. It is very rare to see tractors in this country. Anyway filled water bottle with Coca Cola and was on my way again after cooling off at the tavern.

On the outskirts of Cia I stopped to buy cold water. Without any luck. Had to settle for Mozambique fizzy drink. Sat under the shelter at the shop and drank. It was very hot and nice to get out of the sun and sit on a square seat. Store keepers husband tried to talk with me but found it very difficult as they did not understand English/Afrikaans or broken Zulu. That is as far as my communication skills go. Interesting to note that their home language has some words that are similar to Zulu so here and there was a word that we understood.

At Cia there was a type of one stop garage/filling station with a Standard bank ATM. Here I stopped and drew cash with my bank card to make sure I could pay for upcoming accommodation. Had not eaten yet as food was running low and my Metical was at the end. By this time it was about two in the afternoon. At the one stop there was not much to eat. Was mostly soaps, tooth paste and creams. Suppose lots of people passing there are traveling far. As this is on one of the main routes going north. In the end bought a Pallone roll which I bit a small hole and squeezed it out as I rode. Now the road was tar and not very hilly. Pushed on as Lonely planet guide said there was a nice Lodge 30 km south out of town. Road rolled nice and fast especially with some food in the stomach. Here there are some nice forests. There are logging concessions in this part of the forests.

I arrived late afternoon at Mphingwe Lodge. What a gem in this third world place. Little wooden huts with made up beds and towels rolled up on your bed. Bedside lamps mats and mosquito nets. Everything was polished and shinning. Shared ablutions with wood carvings and floors polished after almost every person that used them. There was a restaurant with cold water and cold drinks.

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

 

There were chairs around a fire place where travellers can sit under the stars and tell each other of their adventures or work in this rough country. I found it an oasis in the wilderness. Last nice place like this for me was Ugezi tiger lodge three days before. Here I asked somebody to do my washing. So I stayed two nights giving him chance to dry it. It was more to enjoy the rest in cheap luxury (Only 600 metical). They have walking trails in the forest. People say bird watching is good. Even with binoculars the birds were to elusive to see, hiding behind branches or flying off. This is because of all the poverty and wars. The people have been hunting birds and animals with catapults and dogs, just to get food. Watch not to lose your way on the trails as you could be walking in circles for days.

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

When at this lodge I met an Indian that had spent six years on contract repairing the railway line. The same line I had been traveling alongside all the way from Tete. He had some men with him from India who were coming to quote on a new contract. The one man had fallen sick so they had stopped for the night. I heard him calling out for water in the night. Sounded like the man had got worse during the night. So the next day they took him to the hospital. Anyway the night before as we were sitting under the stars he offered for me to eat at his house and to spend the night, when I pass Dondo. He said some years back he hosted a tour cyclist in his camp on the railway line.

I also met a South African couple that have been doing mission work in northern Mozambique for the past twelve years.  They had some interesting comments to make. In that remote area there is no TV or radio so they get no negative exposure. This makes the people very positive and enjoy a happy life. The worst thing that can happen is the roof leaks or the rain does not come in time to plant.

They spoke of some good meaning people that thought women spend too much time collecting water. So they put in pumps and pumped water up to the village. Hoping to free up time for the women to educate themselves. This resulted in the fabric of the village falling apart. Some villages became none existent after a time. Whereas the older women used to talk with the younger women at the water source and help them with different problems. There would also be listening ears to talk to when they felt the need. There developed a social order in the village when there was the interaction at the water source. Makes you think about civilization. Actually we are replacing a social system that was very successful and self-sustaining. Whereas the capitalist system has only existed for a relatively short time.  The capitalist system has resulting in cannibalism of the poor for the enriching of the rich. In the end there has to be laws to prevent the exploitation of the poor or unexpecting person. This couple also said they have come to enjoy the slower pace of life and the simple things. When they go back to South Africa they do not enjoy it. All the crime and running up and down style of life.

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